Good Intentions Aren’t Always Enough
Our campaigns office in Manila routinely receives calls about animal emergencies. On Wednesday at around 6:30 p.m.—during the height of rush-hour traffic, which brings the city to a standstill—we received a call from a woman who had witnessed a dog get hit by a car on the busy C-5 expressway, which connects Parañaque City to Valenzuela City. The caller did what most people wouldn’t have: She stopped her car and dragged the dog to the center island. She told us that the animal was weak and unable to move but still alive.
Unfortunately, the woman, who had panicked upon witnessing the accident and had already left the scene, could not recall any landmarks surrounding the area where she had left the dog, informing us simply that the dog was between two exits—a distance of about 5 kilometers. By the time I hailed a kind taxi driver in the pre-Christmas gridlock and made it to the location, an entire hour had passed.
Because of the vast area in which we had to search for the injured animal, the taxi driver agreed to drive slowly along the shoulder of the road while I scanned the center island. Whenever I spotted a bump on the island, the only option was to sprint across the multiline highway with my arms waving in hopes that drivers would stop. Each time, what I had spotted was a rock, a bag of garbage, or a tree root sticking up through the ground. After an hour of death-defying attempts to cross the highway, the taxi driver agreed to risk a traffic violation and drive at a snail’s pace in the lane closest to the center island while I held a flashlight out the window. Thirty minutes later, we found the dog—dead.
Despite our attempts to reach the distressed animal as quickly as possible, the reality is that no animal protection group or animal control center has Superman on staff. In this case, we weren’t able to locate the animal until two and a half hours after we received the call. We depend on the public to assist us in aiding injured animals, especially when a caller is at the scene of the incident.
In this particular case, while the complainant did the right thing by stopping and calling us, we would have been able to locate the dog a lot faster if she had stayed with the animal. If the caller had pulled onto the shoulder of the road and waited for us, we would have been able to find the dog easily. Alternatively, since the caller was driving, she could have loaded the animal into her car and met us at the nearest exit. As a last resort, if staying with the animal were absolutely not an option, any landmarks or a description of the area that the dog was left in would have helped us get there a lot more quickly.
Because of this brave complainant, the dog was saved from being hit by a second car. However, the pup still faced an agonizing death on the side of the road as speeding vehicles drove by. The suffering that this dog endured is a painful reminder that if you find an animal in distress, please make it your responsibility to ensure that the animal is attended to. Don’t leave the scene until help arrives. Animals’ lives literally depend on you.
Posted by Ashley Fruno